By Paul Merkley,
Professor Emeritus in History, Carleton University
A few days into the Presidency of Barack Hussein Obama the press was advised, as quietly as possible, that the bust of Winston Churchill that had been presented to President George W. Bush a few days after 9/11 as a token of sympathy and solidarity, was no longer needed in the Oval Office and would be returned – this despite assurances from the Brits that they were in no hurry to have it returned. This deed was not widely-noted on either side of the Atlantic.
A few weeks later President Obama made his well-remembered Cairo Speech, in which the new President explained to the Muslim world that his election reflected America’s readiness to apologize for its complicity with colonialism in the past and for more recent sins committed out of a spirit of disrespect for Islam. While the purpose of the speech was to appease (in the original dictionary sense of that word) Muslim hostility towards the American people, it is generally admitted today that among the target audience it won no lasting popularity for the United States nor for Obama himself.
Tim Shipman of the Telegraph (U.K.) (February 14, 2009, www.telegraph.co.uk ) noted that “American politicians have made quoting Churchill, whose mother was American, something of an art form, but not Mr. Obama, who prefers to cite the words and works of his hero Abraham Lincoln” – as if somehow a President had to choose between the two different iconic presences. “Churchill,” Shipman opined, “has less happy connotations for Mr. Obama than those American politicians who celebrate his wartime lifetime leadership. It was during Churchill’s second premiership that Britain suppressed Kenya’s Mau Mau rebellion. Among Kenyans allegedly tortured by the colonial regime included one Hussein Onyango Obama, the President’s grandfather.”
There is no doubt some truth in this observation. But a moment’s thought should bring to most American and most Canadian minds the history of Winston Churchill’s his lonely and courageous and ultimately doomed effort to rally Western civilization against its appeasement of the brutal Nazi regime. It fell to Churchill to pick up the pieces when that policy led to what he called the “unnecessary war” against western civilization – “unnecessary” because throughout the entire period from 1933 to at least early 1938 there was indubitable superiority in military assets in the hands of Britain and the nations that should have been allied with Britain at that hour.
* * *
From the very beginning, Obama and his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have minimized publicly the dark realities on the “Palestinian” side of the Peace Process. They routinely indulged the deceits of Mahmoud Abbas (who calls himself the President of Palestine, even though his mandate ran out about a year-and-a-half ago), permitting the American public to see him as a partner for peace while his regime uses its control of Palestinian media to indoctrinate children in the duty of undying hatred towards Jews, naming streets and sports arenas in honor of the juvenile suicide-bombers (“our martyrs.”) Likewise, they declined to support Israel when it was compelled to put a stop by force to the daily bombardment of Israeli citizens by rockets raining into Israel from the neighbours — from Hamas’s gangster regime in Gaza and Hezbollah’s Islamist fiefdom in Lebanon, both wholly-owned subsidiaries of Iran.
Day by day, the behavior of this same Iran increases the concern that Israelis have for their future. Obama says he understands that it is “unacceptable from Israel’s perspective to have a country [Iran] with a nuclear weapon that has called for the destruction of Israel…[But] it is profoundly in the U.S.’s interest to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon” – and he expects Israel to leave it at that. But President Obama has never shown much interest in explaining to the American people the motives that Ahmadinejad of Iran has behind his support of Islamist terrorist outfits that are the sworn enemies of Israel and of ourselves. He has never, for example, talked about Ahmadinejad’s public acknowledgement of the transformative influence in his own life of the thought and the deeds of Adolf Hitler.
Ahmadinejad clearly grasps and is putting into practice the tactics that won for Hitler his diplomatic victories in the pre-War season of 1935 -1939. Like Hitler at that time, he acts on the premise that the more outrageous his declarations of intent to annihilate the Evil Force that stands in his way the more the allies of that Evil Force will be moved to re-calculate the risks they run by attaching their lives, their property and their sacred honor to its shaky future.
Ahmadinejad’s mocks the notion that there was a “holocaust,” while clearly-stating his intention to eliminate from the face of the earth the Jewish race, “the sons of pigs and monkeys,” as the Prophet called them. For a while he preferred to speak of “Zionists” as “the most detested people in all humanity.” Nowadays, he refrains from referring to human qualities, even the worst ones, preferring to speak of “filthy bacteria” — the very language preferred by Hitler and Goebbels.
Obama has sought to persuade us all that everything that can be done to head off Iran’s emergence as a nuclear power is being done, and that differences in how Israelis (on the one hand) and the U.S. government (on the other) calculate the probable lead-time are matters of small-change arithmetic. These calculations are made all the more difficult, he avers, while there is “too much loose talk of war” – an eerie paraphrase of Neville Chamberlain’s warning about Winston Churchill’s bad-mouthing the “appeasers.”
On February 29, the New York Times summed up the implications of the different American and Israeli calculations:
From Israel’s perspective, Iran’s nuclear program will reportedly become unstoppable as soon as the Iranians move a sufficient quantity of enriched uranium and/or centrifuges to the Flordow nuclear installation by Qom. Since Israel reportedly lacks the ability to destroy the facility, Israel’s timeline for attacking Iran will likely end within weeks. The US reportedly has the capacity to successfully bomb Fordow and so its timeline for attacking Iran is longer than Israel’s.
Basically agreeing with the New Times about this discrepancy between the American and the Israeli thoughts about red lines, Caroline Glick of the Jerusalem Post pursues the logic further: “When one recognizes Israel’s short timeline for attacking, one realizes that when Obama demands that Israel give several more months for sanctions to work, what he is actually demanding is for Israel to place its survival in his hands.” (www.carolineglick.com/e/2012/03.) From that hypothetical moment, Obama will simply impose upon Israel a definitive conclusion to the Peace Process – one which conforms to the maximalist program of the Palestinians.
If we follow Caroline Glick’s Churchillian reasoning, we can see how important it is for Israel that the Republican candidates for the Presidency should keep alive over the next few weeks their line of attack against the President’s appeasement of Ahmadinejad.
Please feel free to email any comments or questions about this post to Comments@TheBayviewReview.com.